Teens crave the freedom of a driver’s license more than anything else. But this comes with the potential for all sorts of disasters.
To mitigate car-based calamities, having ground rules is a good idea. If you don’t know where to start, here are some good foundational things to chat about and agree upon together.
Establishing Respect for Vehicle Ownership
Firstly, your teenager needs to understand and respect that owning and driving a car comes with responsibility. That means treating the vehicle with care, not just for its physical condition but also its role as a primary mode of transport.
Additionally, emphasize the significance of routine maintenance for safe operation. In simple terms, if they want to enjoy driving privileges, they must accept the responsibilities associated with it too.
Introducing Basic Traffic Laws
The second step involves familiarizing your teen with traffic laws. Explain the rules of the road, such as speed limits, right-of-way guidelines, and various sign meanings.
Also, guide them on how to interact at intersections or handle tricky situations like highway merges. These are all things that they should learn as part of their more formal driving tuition, of course, but it’s a good idea to reinforce the rules in your own way.
Imparting this knowledge not only bolsters their confidence but also reduces potential risks associated when driving. And it should go without saying, but you need to be diligent in sticking to traffic laws when you’re behind the wheel as well, so that you’re leading by example.
Setting Expectations About Your Teen’s Car
Now that your teenager is ready to handle the basics, it’s time to go car shopping. Part of setting expectations involves researching reliable teen car options together.
This joint venture aids in solidifying factors like safety ratings, insurance costs, and affordability, all of which are crucial aspects when selecting a vehicle.
Also, discuss what responsibility they’ll carry towards car expenses and upkeep. It paves way for mature discussions about financial planning and responsibility around vehicle ownership.
Encouraging Regular Safety Checks
Even the smallest issue can lead to critical consequences on the road. Therefore, it’s crucial your teen realizes the importance of recurrently checking their car for any potential problems.
Train them in basic safety checks like tire pressure monitoring, testing headlights and brake lights, and keeping the windshield clean. This routine ensures not just their safety but also extends the vehicle’s life-span.
Building a Responsible Attitude Towards Speed
Speeding can be exhilarating for a young, new driver. As parents, it’s crucial to explain the dangers and legal repercussions of driving too fast. This includes:
- Increased risk of accidents: Explain how increased speed reduces reaction time.
- More severe crashes: Highlight that high-speed collisions lead to more serious injuries or fatalities.
- Higher fuel consumption: Teach them about efficient use of gas and the economic implications behind speeding.
- Legal consequences: Discuss possible speeding ticket costs and points deducted from their license.
Through frequent discussions on these matters, you’re nurturing your teen’s responsible attitudes towards driving.
Instilling the Importance of Seat Belts
The simple act of buckling up can save lives in an accident. Emphasize the importance of wearing seat belts at all times with the following talking points:
- Safety benefits: Talk about how seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by almost 50%.
- Role model behavior: Once again, you need to be taking the lead here, so always buckle up and ensure everyone else in the car does as well.
- Legal requirements: Inform them about potential fines for not wearing a seat belt.
Explaining such crucial aspects lets you lay down foundational safety precautions they’ll carry forward into their decades of driving to come, and ideally pass on to others as well.
Delineating Dangerous Distractions
The rise in smartphone usage among teens amplifies the number of potential distractions when they’re behind the wheel. Talk over the following points to promote attentive motoring:
- Cell phone ban: Encourage them to turn off their phones while driving. This takes the temptation out of the equation altogether.
- Eating and drinking: Reinforce that quick bites can wait until they reach a rest stop or their destination, rather than attempting to juggle in-car treats while they’re on the move.
- Loud music: Explain how high volume levels may mask external warning sounds on the road, as well as being anti-social if songs are blasting in residential areas.
- Extra passengers: Make it clear that it’s more challenging to drive in a focused way with friends along for the ride, especially early on in their driving careers. Building up solo experience and asking pals to be sensitive to their newly-minted status as a motorist early on is best.
Knowing about these distractions helps reduce preventable accidents caused by momentary lapses in attention.
It’s worth restating that when it comes to having your teen turn into a responsible driver, you have to set a high bar for them to follow. The “do as I say, not as I do” attitude simply won’t work here or in any other context for that matter.